ADSL was a miracle when it debuted, delivering high speeds over old copper, thanks to a protocol that was so adaptable to suboptimal media that it was said it could run "over a piece of wet string."
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A new consultation by the UK telcoms regulator Ofcom will require ISPs to match the speeds they advertise, and if they fail to do so, customers will get the right to unilaterally cancel their broadband subscriptions without penalty. Read the rest
The Snoopers Charter is the UK Tory government's proposal to force ISPs to retain records of all their customers' online activities, and the government has used the excuse of the Paris attacks to call for its immediate passage despite the fact that the £175m/year the government has budgeted to defray ISPs' costs is not even close to enough to pay for the massive surveillance effort, meaning that Britons' ISP bills are set to soar if it passes. Read the rest
I cancelled my small business BT account last year when they endorsed the Tory Internet censorship plan -- and to my surprise, they kept sending me bills, but that wasn't nearly so surprising as what I discovered next: a seven-year-long overbilling ripoff that took most of a year to untangle. Read the rest
The UK Open Rights Group has unveiled a distributed tool that lets you discover whether the sites you love are blocked by the filters promoted by the government. Read the rest
The Great Firewall of Cameron is going live, with all British ISPs defaulting their customers to an "adult content filter" -- meaning that you have to call up and say, "I demand pornography!" or all the sites on the blacklist will be off-limits to you. Included in O2's "parental control blocklist" are such hotbeds of hardcore porn as Slashdot, EFF, Linux Today, Blogspot, No Starch Press, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and, of course, Boing Boing. The "parental control" list is something you have to ask for (not the default-on filter), but it's being actively marketed to parents as the responsible thing to do. For the record, I've switched my broadband to Andrews and Arnold, who oppose Internet censorship. Read the rest
Andrews and Arnold is a professional-grade UK ISP, providing extremely high-reliability, high-speed Internet connections. The UK government has mandated that ISPs provide an "active choice" regarding network censorship -- that is, customers are meant to have to make an explicit statement if they don't want censorship on their lines. A&A's version of this active choice is simple: If you want a censored connection, you can sign up with a different ISP, or move to North Korea. Read the rest